Illinois State University is getting a $495,000 grant to study how changes in temperatures can impact the nervous system.
Associate Professor of Neurophysiology Wolfgang Stein has determined through previous study that humans are less prepared for drastic temperature changes than some animals.
“If your body temperature changes—say you have a fever or you’re a hypothermic—your brain doesn’t function very well,” said Stein. “Think of trying to do a math problem when you have a fever.”
Stein said one type of crab he studied, Cancer borealis, can easily manage temperatures ranging between 41 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, which he said is “almost impossible by human standards.”
Stein suspects crabs release a chain of amino acids that can stabilize neurons, making them better able to withstand a greater variation in temperatures.
Stein is exploring whether other species have the same rescue mechanism.
The grant comes from the National Science Foundation.
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